Memorial of St. John Vianney
Patron of Priests
This weekend, we have the joy of celebrating the Transfiguration of the Lord. Jesus is so good to us! Just six days prior to the Transfiguration, Jesus tells his apostles that he must suffer and die, and they are called to follow the same path. Of course, they are distressed. But then Jesus does something beautiful. He takes Peter, James, and John to the Mount of Tabor where he is transfigured before them. Jesus shows us that though suffering is inevitable, we have a future full of hope through the resurrection. St. Paul reminds us, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”
A friend of mine from Michigan sent a copy of a bulletin which shared the pastor’s remarks about the importance of silence and making sure we take time to listen to Jesus. In the Gospel of the Transfiguration, God the Father states, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” Jesus desires to be in relationship with us in which we share what’s going on with our hearts, and we listen with our hearts to his heart.
I have a favor. One of the best things that can happen in a parish is small groups. Recently, I attended a small group gathering that goes over the Sunday Scriptures every couple of weeks. They have been meeting for more than 30 years. Perhaps you are waiting to join one. Perhaps God is calling you to start one, even if it’s once a month. We need each other…to share our faith with others
Speaking of small groups, one suggestion is to join a small group during this Eucharistic Revival. There is a ready-made template that you can use to form a small group in your parish. All the information you need can be found on the Diocesan Website HERE. Along with some great videos, at the bottom of the page, you will find links to many different resources to help guide you.
Fr. Damian Richards, pastor of St. Nicholas of Myra in Hays, is well known for discussing saints in his homilies. He recently started sharing the stories of saints for their feast days on video. You can find them on our Diocesan Facebook page HERE. The first video is on St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests. In the video, Fr. Damian explained St. John Vianney’s homily on the raising of Lazarus. Why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead and not others who died? John Vianney explained that Lazarus was friends with Jesus and often invited him into his home. The saint then goes on to say that whenever we receive the Eucharist, we are inviting Jesus into our homes and our hearts. In a similar way, John Vianney states that just as Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, he will also raise up his friends who have invited him into their homes and hearts.
A friend, who joined the Catholic Church about seven years ago, recently sent an email I found worth contemplating. She wrote: “One meditation I have found completely helpful is on the “Meditation of the Day” titled “Drinking the cup” by Blessed Honoratus Kozminski, pages 360-361, in the July issue of the Magnificat (Tuesday the 25th). As I pondered this reflection on the Blood of Christ in communion, I realized God’s every effort to unite himself to us. In contemplation, we are not only adopted gentile children, grafted onto a stump of Israel, but that His desire is that His very life force flow through us, in the salvific blood, the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). And that as we receive Him in body and blood in Eucharist, in holy union and consummation, we are blood relatives. His imagery and reality are too rich and unfathomable to comprehend!” Something to ponder.
I’ve been keeping track of what’s happening at World Youth Day in Portugal where a million people are attending. I have enjoyed Pope Francis’ talks to different groups. Here is a snapshot of what he said:
Pope Francis said, “Now is the God-given time of grace to sail boldly into the sea of evangelization and mission. This is not the time to stop and give up, to drag the boat to shore or to look back. To do this, words are not enough; prayer is essential, especially adoration, because being in the presence of the Lord is the only way “to truly discover our taste and passion for evangelization.” Curiously, the prayer of adoration — we have lost it. We have lost it, and everyone — priests, bishops, consecrated men and women, laypeople — have to recover it. It’s to be in silence, before the Lord.”
Pope Francis told the youth that there is a happiness that Jesus has prepared for you, for each of you: It does not come from accumulating things but from putting your life on the line. The Lord says also to each of you: ‘Go, for there is a world that needs what you, and you alone, can give it. We have been called because we are loved. In God’s eyes, we are precious children, and he calls us each day in order to embrace and encourage us, to make of us a unique and original masterpiece whose beauty we can only begin to glimpse. Let us help one another to recognize this reality; because we are precious in God’s eyes, despite what our eyes sometimes see, despite what our eyes are sometimes clouded by negativity and dazzled by so many distractions. Unlike social media algorithms that associate a name with likes and preferences, God truly knows each person’s uniqueness. God’s heart beats uniquely for you.”
Pope Francis said that we should never define people by their sickness or difficulty but should instead recognize that everyone is “a precious and sacred gift for God, and for the Christian and human community.”
Pope Francis called the Church to “a humble, ongoing purification, starting with the anguished cry of the victims, who must always be accepted and listened to.”
Attend to the planet and the poor. Pope Francis told them, “Keep in mind that we need an integral ecology, attentive to the sufferings both of the planet and the poor. We need to align the tragedy of desertification with that of refugees, the issue of increased migration with that of a declining birth rate, and to see the material dimension of life within the greater purview of the spiritual.”
As of now, we have ten seminarians studying this fall. Next week we have dinners with our seminarians in Salina, Hays and Colby. Between 400–500 people in our diocese will be attending the seminarian dinners. Thank you for your generous support of our seminarians!
Speaking of our seminarians, they will be playing in a basketball game on Friday, August 11, at 6 pm at St. Thomas More Marian Prep in Hays. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend!
Right after the Runnin’ Revs game, there is an Encounter Christ youth event being held which includes adoration, sharing, talks, etc.
Looking forward to seeing many of you at our Men’s Conference on Saturday, August 12, from 8 am – 1 pm. It’s always an uplifting time. Hope to see you there.
I recently attended the annual Green Tie Catholic Charities dinner and auction. The testimonies from people who have been helped by Catholic Charities were amazing! Thank you for your support of Catholic Charities.
I want to encourage you to pray and discern whether you can attend the “Called and Gifted” workshop on October 21 at the Prince of Peace Parish Center in Great Bend. What is God calling you to do?
We pray for all our grade school and high school students and college students who will begin school within the next few weeks. What an exciting time.
On August 13, our Rural Life office will be in Oakley to celebrate centennial farms in our diocese. Congratulations to all of you and thank you for your love of God’s creation.
Recently I started writing to parishes on their feast days. The first one was on August 2, which is the memorial of St. Mary Queen of the Angels Parish in Russell. You can find the full letter HERE . Did you know that ‘St. Mary Queen of the Angels’ came from Assisi, Italy. After returning from a visit with Pope Innocent III to receive permission to form a religious order, Francis and the first brothers took up residence in what is called the Portiuncula. The formal name of the chapel was “Our Lady Queen of the Angels.” That little chapel of Portiuncula is today housed within a huge basilica called the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This place is where St. Francis stayed at the beginning of the Franciscan order as well as at the end of his life. It was the Portiuncula that Francis wanted to go to when he knew that he would soon die. Another tidbit. When the Franciscans were founding towns in California, they named one mission, “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula,” which means the “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula.” This mission town became a city, and the name was truncated to “Los Angeles.”
Inspiration from the Saints:
Saint quotes from St. John Vianney, whose feast is today, August 4:
“Do not try to please everybody. Try to please God, the angels, and the saints – they are your public.”
“There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.”
“The Lord is more anxious to forgive our sins than a woman is to carry her baby out of a burning building.”